Although it has been dwarfed in the years since, the £63,284.30 dividend paid out at Newmarket in 2003 was record breaking at the time – and what’s more, it was won by a single on course punter.
That’s right, one bettor won the whole pot on Middle Park Stakes Day, and even more surprisingly, he had bet £8 on his predictions. That’s not a lot in general betting terms but for a placepot bet where many people wager less than £1 per line, it’s huge.
Leg 1 was not too much of a shake up, despite the favourite not managing to place. Secret Charm and Gravardlax in first and second place were both fairly well backed, and an unknown Ouija Board came in third (at 20/1), making her debut before she had become the star she went on to be.
Just 5 of the 7 horses ran in leg 2, and with two of the three joint favourites placing the pool wasn’t dealt to much damage here either.
Leg 3 proved problematic for bettors, as the favourite, Hurricane Alan, was injured in the paddock, with the rules stating that any money bet on him should therefore go on the next favourite, Kalaman. With only 4 runners though, he would have to win to keep the pool strong, and he couldn’t manage it. Outsider, Splendid Era, took the number 1 spot at 25/1, and the pool was decimated with 3 legs still to go.
The favourite, Three Valleys, won race 4, although he was disqualified after the fact for having a banned substance in his system. This did not impact the placepot though, so it was a fairly safe leg for those remaining.
The favourite did the business in leg 5 too, coming 3rd, but it was a couple of outsiders that came in ahead, with all of the other shorter odds runners unplaced, so by the time it got to leg 6, there may well only have been our eventual winner and one or two others left.
Leg 6 was another small field, with only 5 horses lining up, but only 4 of them eventually racing. This meant that, once again, unless your horse won the race, your bet was dead. Unluckily for anyone who had backed the favourite, Self Evident, he was beaten by just half a length by Kings County at 7/2.
This left one single bettor to claim the whole pot, which stood at £63,284.30.